After our second call for the Handel Group’s Design Your Health teleseries, I got a little tripped up. When I had done one-on-one coaching with Handel cofounder Lauren Zander a few years back, I wrote a health dream that I loved. It came off almost as an ideal day of sorts: I envisioned waking up energized, something I’ve never experienced, and then carried out this smooth-running, productive day that was balanced with work, exercise, rest, and play.
I still read the dream day nearly every week in my journal, and usually I come away motivated to make a few changes to my schedule so I get closer to my vision.
But lately, I’ve read it and only sighed. Ah, what a nice dream, I think. If only I could have it.
You see, dear friends, on March 14, I learned some delightful news: I’m pregnant with our first child! The timing was quite apropos: March 14 is the day I met my husband, Kyle, on a trip to Florida nine years ago, and the same day he proposed on our one-year anniversary.
I’ve been working hard to get my body and mind healthy through exercise, overhauling my approach to eating, and utilized life coaching to realize I can (and will) rewrite my story. All those times I’ve said, well, I’m just not athletic or strong, or I’m always destined to struggle with my weight, those stories are gone. I’ve learned that I am indeed strong (see photo at right), I’m in control and can live at a healthy weight, and I can keep reaching for my dreams.
And my dreams in the past few years have been to have a healthy pregnancy, one I feared I could never have when my doctors told me my health was in jeopardy five years ago.
So how have I revised the dream statement? The key thesis goes like this:
I am confident, my body is sexy and strong, and I feel energized. As my body changes during pregnancy, I allow myself to be quiet, deliberate, and nourish my body and spirit with self-care. I continue my healthy-eating habits and move my body daily to benefit both my baby and myself. I embrace life and feel excited for my days. I am efficient, punctual, and a joy to be around — my friends and family love my enthusiasm and frequently ask to spend time together taking walks, hikes, or trying a new sport. I feel that I can do anything in my body, and the possibilities for my life are endless.
Sounds nice, right? But do you see where I simply sigh? Maybe you young parents out there are nodding along, but I think my hold-up in moving forward with designing my health has come from the fact that I have no idea what challenges parenthood will bring.
I mean, I know I want to continue as many practices as I can, both for myself and to model for my child, but maybe there are days when, say, a daily walk with baby is out of the question. It’s raining or it’s too cold or baby is sick or fussy. Maybe all we do is yoga or dancing in the living room, or climb the stairs at home. Maybe I can squeeze in a run at the gym during my lunch break, or maybe my day is so swamped that I only have time to take a walk around the block.
It’s what life coach Laurie Gerber referred to as “extenuating circumstances.” Generally speaking, it’s when there’s a party that week, or perhaps you’ve come down with a bad cold. Those times require a bit of creativity, flexibility, and, she noted, “more design. You have to fight for your dreams.” You can change your plans for how you’ll eat at an upcoming vacation — if you’re a diehard at the gym, you allow for walks on the beach and rest instead. When my baby is sick, I tend to him or her and give myself permission to simply stretch and catch up on a good book.
Our lives will continue to change, and often change quickly. That’s often what makes it so exciting. And as I’m learning from Laurie, the more willing we are to adapt and revise our plans as needed, the happier we will be with the outcome. And if there’s one thing I need in this chapter of parenthood, it’s flexibility.
Are you struggling with making a change? Excited yet stuck? Check out this article on “The Stages of Change,” based on the Transtheoretical Model of Change developed by psychologist James O. Prochaska, PhD, and hear more from coach Laurie in the video below.